Kristi Noem is Annette Bosworth, only slightly more stable.
Back in 2013 and 2014, Annette Bosworth kept her family finances afloat by pretending to run for the United States Senate on a poorly executed pastiche of Tea Party tropes that she didn’t believe. Bosworth didn’t talk about real South Dakota issues; she just blew the dog whistles that brought the biggest cash response from vulnerable old folks out-of-state.
Kristi Noem is doing the same job on her donors. Steel your stomach and read this campaign fundraising letter received by a South Dakota reader last week. Pay attention to the specific details about South Dakota issues and the Governor’s specific legislative achievements:
I probably didn’t fool you: you knew going in there would be no real South Dakota details in this letter, and you didn’t find any. Noem doesn’t mention any bills passed or South Dakota laws changed. She doesn’t mention any work with South Dakota legislators or local leaders to build roads or promote specific education or economic development projects. She just screams Biden-Harris! and ANTIFA! and the firehose of radical policies and infringements! and lets fear and insurrectionism do the rest.
Noem must necessarily avoid specifics, lest she expose her hypocrisy. She ridicules the “blue-state, big-city politicians” going into “lockdown” with “no discernible difference in covid-19” (a lie, a lie, a dirty deadly lie) but now begging for “bailouts from Washington.” She does not mention, of course, that she’s let coronavirus run rampant and taken all sorts of federal bailouts for her budget and her brothers.
Beyond her talking-point hypocrisy, Noem makes clear that she’s thinking about running against Kamala Harris in 2024, not against challengers to her gubernatoriate here in South Dakota in 2022. Notice her selfish claim that “I do need to defend my name, my record, and my state against these radical left wing attacks.” After you wipe your snorted coffee from the part referring to her non-existent “record”, you’ll see the reference to “my state”—not our state, because that would suggest she’s thinking of and speaking to fellow South Dakotans. This entire letter is tuned to the wavelengths Annette Bosworth targeted for fundraising in 2013 and 2014: retirees out of state getting the heebie-jeebies from Fox News on their telescreens all day who are easily lured into giving their Social Security checks to some poor lady picked on by leftists for standing up to that dark-skinned person with the funny-sounding name in Washington.
This particular letter was received by a particularly vulnerable out-of-state elderly person. The recipient died of coronavirus last year. Noem’s target had been in a nursing home for two years before the pandemic. The recipient never lived in South Dakota. Noem sent her letter to an address used by a child of the recipient who managed the recipient’s affairs and now the recipient’s estate. That address usually only receives important, official documents pertaining to the recipient’s affairs; my correspondent reports that Noem’s letter is one of the only junk mailings to ever appear in that particular mailbox.
But Noem has other fish to fry. She may archly claim that all she’s thinking about is governing South Dakota, but this fundraising letter makes clear that, like Annette Bosworth, she’s thinking about nothing but reciting the talking points that will build her national brand and bank account on the banks of frightened, faraway donors.